Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance
Born: 3 July 1886, Baltimore, Maryland
Died: 13 December 1969, Monterey, California
Nickname: ?
 Scanned from Pemsel, Biographisches Lexikon zur Seekriegsgeschichte: Raymond Spruance
    U.S. Naval Academy Graduation 1906. Having served in battleships, destroyers and cruisers through his whole career, Spruance assumed command of a cruiser division at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In this office, Spruance supported Admiral Halsey's carrier Enterprise during the early 1942 carrier raids, including shelling of Wotje, Maloejap, Wake and Marcus Islands. Later, he escorted the task force conducting the Doolittle Raid.  
Halsey, falling ill on the conclusion of the raid, appointed Spruance as his replacement as Commander, Task Force 16, Enterprise and Hornet. Spruance, under the nominal command of Rear-Admiral Fletcher, led his carriers expertly with the help of Commander Browning, Halsey's Chief-of-Staff, and justly received a large part of the praise for the US Navy success in the battle.  

    Following this battle, Spruance became Chief-of-Staff of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in which role he had a major part in planning future operations.  

    In November 1943, he became Commander, 5th Fleet, commanding the Central Pacific Forces, including carriers, battleships and amphibious assets. He once again performed very well, but in the carrier staffs concern arose over the Admiral's battleship conciousness. Leading the Navy across the Pacific via the Marshalls, Spruance got to lead the attack on the Marianas, leading the 5th Fleet into the Battle of the Philippine Sea. There, his air groups decimated the enemy aerial attacks in conjunction with the a new concept for the battleships, in which Spruance would deploy them in the van, shooting down planes even before fighters would attack. Despite not following the beaten Japanese fleet, Spruance's forces sank the medium carrier Hiyo. Spruance has been blamed often for not following the IJN after their retreat. However, this is probably unjust. Spruance's task was to guard the invasion forces and beaches. Besides, if Spruance is to blame, so certainly are the aviation officers responsible for ignoring torpedo-plane training which resulted in only bombs hitting most carriers except Hiyo 

    Anyway...after the Philippine Sea battle, Spruance, for the first time, turned over the 5th Fleet to Admiral Halsey, going back to Pearl Harbor to plan future landing operations. The invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were partly his work. He got back to lead the 5th Fleet in battle off those two islands, still not yet fully clear of his idea of a battleship duel. 
Finally returning one last time to Pearl Harbor, Spruance began planning the operations Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu, and Coronet, the invasion of Honshu, which he would have led had the war progressed. 

    However, with war's end, this was no concern anymore. After the war, Spruance became CinCPAC, for a short term, President of the Naval War College, and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines. 

    A quiet, shy and intelligent officer, Spruance was the ideal man to lead the Navy in the Central Pacific, despite the problems he sometimes had with naval aviation. He was always quite interested in the opinions of his staffs, and would stand to his decisions. Precise and calculating, he was even better a planner than a combat leader. With due respect to Halsey, it must be said that of the two, Spruance rated higher for Fleet Admiral promotion, for he was a better commander, an admirals' admiral, not a sailors' admiral as Halsey.